South Loop Shops, Pop-up Experiences, and Live Music in River North with Esha Manchanda

In this week’s Seek Like a Local, Esha shares her favorite Lincoln Park pop-up bars, the best shops in the South Loop, and where to nab and nosh on vegan donuts in an adorable bakery environment.


Explore Chicago Like Esha Manchanda

Esha Manchanda

Esha Manchanda, also known as ‘Esha from the Chi’ on Instagram, is a Chicago-based lifestyle blogger. When Esha is not hustling 9 – 5, you can catch her vibing and grabbing coffee in the windy city.

Esha is supporting the launch of a Chicago-themed candle company, called 312 Candle Company. Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on their official launch.


What are some fun things to do in Chicago?

Again so many fun things to do in the city, both indoors and out. One of the unique experiences is the pop-up bars at Replay in Lincoln Park. They always theme them after popular shows and movies and have themed drinks to go along with the environment! I also love trying new coffee shops, walking along the lake, specifically Museum Campus—which also has one of the best skyline views. And shopping at local boutiques and thrift stores. In the summer, ending the night on a rooftop bar with a yummy drink and crisp Chicago air is essential.

Ok, tell us what you love about the Chicago art and music scene.

In terms of Chicago visual artists and painters, my favorites are:

  1. Hebru Brantley: Art and Muralist
  2. Oscar Joyo: Muralist and digital artist
  3. Abhas Misraraj: Design and multimedia
  4. Melissa Almandina: a poet and resident artist at AMFM

I also enjoy Hairpin Arts Center, which is a social-focused art gallery. I am also hoping to get exposure to more artists with the help of a new pop-up art gallery I found, Rostrum 312! This would also be an excellent addition to a fun thing to do this summer.

As far as music goes, I really enjoy the live music and contemporary jazz bands that play at the Bassment in River North.

Artist in the Rostrum 312 gallery // Image via Facebook

What community organizations are you supporting in Chicago right now?

I am always looking to learn more about organizations supporting our community. Healthy Hood Chi provides accessible and affordable classes and resources that elevate the mind, body, and conscience in communities of color (I had the opportunity to take a Salsa class in their Pilsen space)! They also opened their space as shelter during the polar vortex a few years ago and are constantly making efforts to stand up for the community. I also recently discovered The Love Fridge, which is community refrigerators with the goal of “nourishing communities while combating food security and food waste.” I like to drop off the extra food I have in my home here, and it is a convenient place for people in the community to take what they may need. I also like following Mutual Aid Chicago and Chicago Activist Defense Committee for information and news on local initiatives that I can help support!

Share some of your favorite places to shop in Chicago.

As a long-term South Loop resident, Roosevelt Collection shops have become a favorite. Over the last few years, they have added some unique boutiques and your usual popular shops. One of my favorite Saturday things to do is grab an iced coffee at Chicago French Press and walk through the cute decor of the Roosevelt Collection over to one of my favorite local boutiques, Love Peridot. Their selection of unique and fun Chicago pieces is always a fun browse and my go-to for a pick-me-up or a gift (both stores are black, woman-owned as another plus).

As a local, where are some of your FAVORITE places to dine in Chicago?

So many favorites! Here are the top three—in no particular order. First, Green Street Meats in West Loop their patio is so fun for a summer dinner outdoors. Joyee in Chinatown, their food is the best, and their boba drinks and smoothies are the perfect pair. Last but not least is Beacon Donuts in Lincoln Park. Their donuts are sooo good and happen to be vegan! My personal favorite donut is the Double Chocolate Sea Salt. As a plus, their storefront is very cute.

Live music, Chicago South Loop shops, and more with Esha Manchanda a Chicago-based lifestyle blogger.
Patio dining at Green Street Smoked Meats // Image via Facebook


Seek Like A Local, and discover things to do, places to dine, and more of what the city of Chicago has to offer this week. Check out previous guides from influential Chicago locals here.


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